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tv   [untitled]    July 29, 2014 11:00am-11:31am PDT

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projects. in fact rfps are not out right now but i want to be proactive and we have a potential conflict there and would have and come to you with a request specifically for that one project as well so i could assure mechanical engineering and other firms we're putting together as a team to pursue these projects that we would initiate be able to pursue them. >> you're talking about moscone project. >> that we have but also the airport. >> and with moscone aren't they involved with the design review of the project? >> as part of the design review project there is a committee of five and two architects and we would be normally involved with that and i would recuse myself.
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typically at the arts commission for a recusal the commissioner steps out of the room completely so they're not present during the discussion. >> does another architect stand in for an architect that recuses themselves? >> no. >> does that put the arts commission at a disadvantage because of the recusal of that architect? >> well, i think part of the reason why we have five is that should a recusal is necessary we have sufficient judgment there, but yes. >> and in terms of the sfo project what role if any would you have in that? >> again because of the situation i would have recuse myself at the commission and within our firm i would have no involvement at all. >> is that under normal circumstances but simply because you're on the arts commission? >> it's actually because of
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normality circumstances. there are three of us -- actually four of us responsible for the design projects at the firm. we divide the work up among ourselves and each of us functions independently. we're not aware of -- frankly we're busy and not paying attention to what the other ones are doing. other than at operations and policy and governance level so day-to-day operations are left to the individuals. >> and one more question. why are you on the arts commission to begin with? you have been on it since when? 2009. >> 2009. it's something that i am -- i found myself to be extremely passionate about. i really feel that the quality of design in the projects of civic buildings really needs to be brought to the highest level possible. these buildings are the public face as institutions for the city, and i think it's
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very important that the city as great as san francisco that we have truly excellent design so it's an opportunity for me to contribute my thoughts and critique and work with the projected teams that come before us to try to make sure that we are providing the city with the best level of design possible. >> who . >> >> appointed you to the commission? >>i was appointed under mayor newum and reappointed by mayor lee. >> is there a term on the commission? >> i believe it's two year terms. >> your answer to the questions sort of highlights the concerns
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about the conflict because when plans for som come before the arts commission for review even though you may recuse yourself the other four members know that's your company and you know you don't like to pick on your friends, and that's really what the problem is is that perception. it may be the other four can be totally independent and disregard whether relationship they have with you, but to the public particularly somebody who is skeptical of the way in which projects are parceled out and done in san francisco it's that perception that i find is what's -- why we
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have the need to make sure that everybody on the commission is independent of any possible prejudice or influence that shouldn't be in the process. anyway -- any other comments? >> i just wanted to remind myself and remind the commission when we reviewed this back -- this same general issue i guess in may with the commissioner smith we took a position on the fact that there wasn't -- there was just intention to move forward with the bidding process, any future bids that were out. i remember a line of questions that we asked. are you currently seeking an rfp? no. i am interested in rfps
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that may be coming to the city and we want our firm to be able to be competitive with those, and our decision on that even on that point of view where there wasn't an existing relationship we had a ruling on it, so i want us to be mindful of that and i know we have -- i'm not sure if we're taking this in pieces or two different ones, but i think it's important for us to at least revisit what positions we have taken in the past. >> does anybody want to make a motion as to how we should deal with these two requests? i think we can deal with them as a package because they relate to the same sort of subject matter.
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>> yes, again reluctantly and i realize the talent lost to the arts commission here but i move that we not approve the waivers. >> i second. >> seconded by commissioner andrews. public comment? thank you mr. chow. >> commissioners, [inaudible] open government. usually these cases are issues that a city employee wants a waive waiver to work for a company in the division they have been working for. >> >> and usually they identify a clear need for this person to take that position or why there would be a detriment to the organization to not be able to hire them and so forth. in this particular case i don't see anything in the documentation to
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show that mr. chow -- i'm sorry. yes mr. chow is irreplaceable. he has been on the arts commission for six years. that's a pretty good run. 2009 to 2014. i did not hear anything from him saying if i were to leave the arts commission would suffer. you all mentioned there are architect firms and hundreds of architects so it's not like we only have five architects and five positions so if we take them out they're going to be left without that expertise, and going back to what several of you mentioned it is the appearance of conflict, and i worked for -- i taught the university hawaii for years and involved with consulting at
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office of hawaiian affairs and so forth and one of the things that you realize with that work you become privy to information that is in conflict of the rules, and the simple fact that we rely sometimes on people just being honest is a nice thing to do in a purely theoretical sense. am i saying he's not an honest person? no. i'm absolutely not saying that but i'm saying that a person in a position where they get information which is beneficial to themselves or to their company or whatever has a real temptation and we know that temptation has violated consistently in all forms of government, non government, so forth, that unless there is a clear reason why he is the only
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person who can be on this commission i think -- i agree with you that this waiver should be denied. also the fact that when he took the position i would assume being a very intelligent person he sat down and thought about all of the conflict and i am surprised after that many years this is the very first time any potential conflict has been brought up. >> good evening. nicole weeten from the mayor's office and the liaison and responsible for appointing commissioners to the mayoral appointed seats and i want to speak to what was just said and out lined in my email to the commissioner it is actually difficult to find the most qualified, competent commissioners that reside within the city and county of san
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francisco and they have a mandate attached to it and something that commissioner hayon pointed out a good point and two architects on the commission and both have come before you for a waiver which is something that shouldn't be dismissed. with those ark seats -- architect seats and commissioner hayon made a good point many work with the city and county and to dismiss anyone because of that not taking into consideration commissioner chow's ability to wall himself off from the conflicts deprives a large portion of citizens from serving on the commission in this instance and does a disservice to the people of the city and county to do that so we're chrj
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charged in the mayor's office to appoint diverse appointees and this is part of that and i ask you to approve this and it's difficult for the mayor to fill the seat in a manner that would not be present a conflict for that commissioner. and i am happy to answer any questions. >> [inaudible] >> are we taking questions? yeah ms. wheaton. so are you aware of commissioner comight's waiver? >> his waiver request? yeah. i was made aware of it. >> i think you're in support of commissioner chow. >>i am. >> i am wondering what your position for commissioner smith, if you had a thought?
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>> yeah. i think with commissioner smith it was a different type of waiver, a blanket waiver and not a case by case basis. i think commissioner smith -- he served as director of the firm and he has the ability to decide on behalf of the firm what projects he can take and not take and the financial implications of that. i think with commissioner chow being one of five members in leadership it's not apples to apples so i think it presentses a different case in this instance. >> this may be a question you can't answer or too difficult to answer. was a request made by commissioner smith to write a letter of support or endorse ments and could you have? >> a request wasn't made and i wasn't made of that waiver request. we appreciate commissioner smith's service on
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the arts commission and we reappointed him which shows we believe his service benefits the city in the arts community so i recommend to the mayor that we support a letter in support of his waiver. only keeping in mind there has to be i think processes put in place and those out lined by commissioner chow that would prevent conflicts from occurring. >> good evening commissioners. i am director of cultural affairs with the arts commission. thank you for the waiver requests. on behalf of our president. jd beltran i am asking for the requests. commissioner chow has served not only as the architect on the
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committee but member of the executive committee. he served in the search for my role and a key leadership position and i do think that the challenge to replace a significant leader in the commission given the population of san francisco, given that they're theiring down to architecting that reside in san francisco and we would be precluding any ark . >> >> architect is that would work with the city would hinder this. when commissioner chow pursued the request and a valid and not pursue this request and the moscone is with a nonprofit and we have a standard practice of grants to nonprofits and commissioners recuse themselves and step out of the room. commissioner chow identified
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that conflict and recused himself and left the room and managed these real and perceived with appropriate action. in the case of commissioner smith's waiver request brought forward that was a blanket waiver request and if approved he wouldn't have to resign from the commission and it was a different approach to expand his work. in this instance we would lose commissioner chow's service and have a vacancy and begin immediately as my understanding and require that vacancy until we find someone to serve in that architect's seat. i am happy to answer questions to manage the conflict of interest if it's possible to pass this waiver request but because they're narrow specific projects now heard on public record and identified before the commission and standing conflicts of interest it's on par with other conflicts of interest that commissioners manage in
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relationship to nonprofit grantees and i guess my final point is we also want an architect that is knowledgeable of the city so preventing them working with the city and county of san francisco it means we are prevented from finding a commissioner that understands the nuances of working with the city and i think the commissioner brings that expertise in terms of managing timeline and budgets that are city bound so that skill set of a commissioner that understands the workings and it's a challenge as well and i am happy to answer any questions and i appreciate your consideration this evening. >> david pilpel again and again i am speaking as an individual. i do not know commissioner chow
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but i think in general on waiver requests i support the motion to deny the request. my understanding that this seat is a license the architect. it's not specific to large or small firm. it appears to me that another individual could be found in the city who is a small firm architect or merely does private projects in the city or elsewhere or public projects not in san francisco and i think that where we can avoid recusal and have full participation of members on all matters been them that should be encouraged and knowing that there's a potential conflict or issue of influence that should be avoided and another individual found. unfortunately in this case that works against the commissioner i'm sorry and so be it, so that's kind of my thinking.
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thanks. >> all right. i have a call for the motion. all those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> opposed? >> opposed. >> record should reflect that the request for the granting of the waiver was denied 3-1, one opposing and staff will prepare the necessary papers to reflect that decision. >> yeah. >> all right. where's my agenda? all right. number four is discussion and possible action regarding the adoption of
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graph regulations related to the lobbyist ordinance and permit consultants and developers of major real estate projects and amend to interpret and implement the lobbyist ordinance including recent amendments effective july 26, 2014 and the permit consultant and permit requirement by requiring guidance with contacts and lobbyist and fundraising among other things. attachments july 23, 2014 staff memo. draft regulations. recent changes to campaign and conduct code. it would be my congratulations -- the draft. >> >> suggestion, the draft
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covers all of the proposed changes that the commission deal with the entire set of draft -- the draft prior to public comment as to any comments that the commissioners may have as to any of the proposed draft regulations. let me say at the out set i want to commend the staff for i think an admirable job of carrying out what you stated at the very beginning that the implementing regulations shall be construed in a mearnt that provides for the greatest disclosure of lobbyists in the city and county of san francisco. i think you have done an admirable job. i
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had as far as i was concerned i had only one question or comment on example number two on page two under regulation 2.1 061, contacts used as intermediaries where you say the staff members do not state -- example two, paid representatives of a real estate developer meet with staff at the planning department to discuss possible modifications to the draft environmental impact report for the developer's project. the staff members do not state or otherwise indicate in the representatives have no reason to believe that they will have the substance of their conversation conveyed to either the planning director or the zoning administrator. the representatives have not made a lobbying contact. i guess the
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question -- why isn't it assumed that when a lobbyist contacts a staff at the planning department that it's doing so seeking to impact whatever the planning department has issued? i mean it just seems they shouldn't have to say "are you going to tell this to your boss?" >> thank you commissioner renne. i am the executive director. this is an example. we talked with -- two things about this. this is in response -- this example was drafted in response to concerns primarily from the attorney community about showing up at the planning commission and whether that was sort of the practice of law which is actually a second sort of exemption as you know, and we went and talked with folks -- in
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particular attorneys working for the city attorney's office, the planning department, and folks at planning in terms of the mechanics how this might work if an attorney shows up and talking with a staffer regarding an eir or another declaration finding, and what we learned is based on what we heard from the planning folks is that there may be a lot of back and forth with staff regarding eirs, other environmental findings that don't ultimately -- the report might make its way up there but the conversation doesn't make the way up to the department head or the commissioners so we thought it was reasonable to draw the line there and say hey to the extent you're talking with staff who are not city officers you're generally trying to influence it but ultimately
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there will be other decisions that likely -- there's going to be be lobbying on those decisions too. we can draw the line there and say if the staff doesn't indicate and take what you said and attribute to what you and up the line. i don't know if that answers the question. >> it does but it raises the concern i have. >> sure. >> you were talking about the planning process. so much of it is talking with the staff people and trying to convince them what they're proposing should do something else or do that and to say that's not a contact when the end result may well be that the staff accepts and recommends that, but yet there will be nothing in the public record that the staff made that decision based at least in part on the individual that is an
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attorney or consultant or whoever is and went to the staff. here's the problem. this is what we need to do. that's the whole evil seems to me that you're trying to at least let the public know that john doe has gone there on behalf of the developer to try to get the eir adjusted or something else at the planning process. i am troubled by example two. >> okay. i certainly thank you for the comments. i certainly understand that, and one thing i would say and this is based on my understanding speaking with the community and the planning departments is that generally the larger projects where -- let's say a greater interest in public disclosure. the contacts with the john ion let's say
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they're going to be happening and they're going to be reported so there is the distinction between -- in other words, this may not exempt out that many folks but your concern is real. your concern is real. >> my guess would be that the most important contacts are at that lower level before it ever gets to the planning director. >> so -- deputy city attorney, just to add more to the example because it illustrates an important thing about the lobbyist ordinance and the intended reach and first of all the lobbyist ordinance only contacts between officers and the highest level and not necessarily a single staff person. you may quibble with that approach but not every contact is a lobbying contact
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or converts a person into a lobbyist, so i think that's why this example is helpful because it illustrates how in many instances a contact with a staff person wouldn't constitute a lobbyist contact. a second point i would add as well and the commission will get into this more at a later date that a lot of the action with the changes are concerned with land use so in addition they deal with permitting consulting services and a lot of these contacts -- addressing the primary concern is planning staff on a range of projects that is covered by the separate revision and not necessarily the lobbyist but others picked up by the legislation. >> i thought as i read your regulations that you're picking up the contacts talking to the
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supervisors' aids. that's a contact. it's not a city official. >> requirement i don't want to speak for jessie obviously but i think at least a substantial difference in -- not in kind but substantial difference in terms of degree. in a supervisor's office there is currently only three aids. three full time aides working with the supervisor. the planning department -- i don't have a specific number but it's significantly larger. i imagine there are hundreds of employees in the planning department and i think this example is intended to illustrate not every conversation you have with the employees is necessarily going to get to john rahaim's eers or the ears of a planning commissioner. >> any other comments by the commissioners? anybody want to
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make a motion that we adopt the proposed regulations based upon the draft that was provided to us? >> i will move it mr. chair. i have also found the staff's analysis of this to be very helpful. so thank you. good job. thank you very much. it covers a lot of areas. i am sure in the future we will look back and say why did we do that because there is so much here, but just generally looking over what's a vast array of many possible difficulties that have to be met i think it's fairly comprehensive, and i would move it.